Football: Liverpool give Houllier hope

Middlesbrough 1 Liverpool 3

HALFWAY THROUGH the season, the Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier, believes his charges have finally turned the corner.

"We have a lot of work to do but we are going up," he said, after his side became the first to win at Middlesbrough in 14 months. He singled out his five-man midfield, who threw a shield in front of his three defenders to protect them both from the supply to Middlesbrough's rampaging forwards and from themselves.

For, while Paul Gascoigne was pushed backwards into less harmful areas and the tireless runs of Andy Townsend were curtailed, Liverpool's back line looked far from composed. Even given the gale, David James' kicking was poor, Phil Babb looked calamitously uncomfortable under high balls with Hamilton Ricard and Brian Deane behaving like bulls in china shops, and even Steve Staunton passed the simplest of balls straight to a red shirt - of Middlesbrough.

The home side's best moments came from Liverpool's unconventional defending. Their goal came when Deane outjumped Babb and outwitted James; Middlesbrough's closest effort was Babb's stooping header in front of James, who was expecting to gather Townsend's cross, and Ricard's clearest opening came courtesy of a strange back-header from Paul Ince.

Still, Liverpool did calm down after half-time, largely because their revolving forward line began to take the game to a defence that had lost its lynchpin.

"Gary Pallister had a fitness test before the game on his ankle and was feeling it after 10 minutes, when maybe he should have come off," Robson said. Pallister had first lost Ince, who set up Liverpool's first for Carragher, and then, unsettled by Michael Owen, back-passed for Mark Schwarzer to pick up and concede the free-kick that Jamie Redknapp blasted home for his side's second.

With Pallister substituted at half-time, it was Karlheinz Riedle's appearance on the hour in place of Robbie Fowler that sealed the game. Until then, Middlesbrough had a hope that a goalmouth gift would come their way but, with Riedle commanding the ball at the other end of the field, James and Co relaxed.

Steve McManaman replaced Owen for 15 minutes of free flowing football and back-heels, before Vegard Heggem danced downfield past three dispirited defenders and looped the ball over Schwarzer in the 89th minute.

Goals: Carragher (17) 0-1; Deane (33) 1-1, Redknapp (35) 1-2; Heggem (89) 1-3.

Middlesbrough (3-5-2): Schwarzer; Cooper, Vickers, Pallister (Fleming, h-t); Festa, Maddison (Stamp, 72), Gascoigne, Townsend (Beck, 78), Gordon; Deane, Ricard. Substitutes not used: Moore; Beresford (gk).

Liverpool (3-5-2): James; Carragher, Staunton, Babb; Heggem, Redknapp (Harkness, 90), Ince, Berger, Bjornebye; Fowler (Riedle, 58), Owen (McManaman, 76). Substitutes not used: McAteer; Friedel (gk).

Referee: G Poll (Tring). Bookings: Middlesbrough: Gascoigne, Festa, Cooper. Liverpool: Babb, Bjornebye, Riedle.

Man of the match: Schwarzer.

Attendance: 34,626.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower